Origin tops 4 million users, could double in the next year - EA

Publisher exec David DeMartini weighs in on digital store's future features, third-party publishers, competing with Steam, and retailer-exclusive preorder bonuses.

Electronic Arts launched its Origin downloadable distribution storefront at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June. The service quickly made a splash with the news that it would be the exclusive online retailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic and an ongoing issue with Valve that has seen games like Dragon Age II and Crysis 2 pulled from the developer's Steam storeftont.

Origin is building on not-so-humble beginnings.

Through that eventful launch window, Origin has attracted a user base over 4.2 million people, EA senior vice president of global online David DeMartini told GameSpot this week. The store now offers more than 300 downloadable and retail games, integration within mobile titles, free-to-play games, and a selection of Gaikai-powered streaming demos for a selection of games like Crysis 2 and Dead Space 2.

That's only the beginning, DeMartini said. EA is looking at adding new features like cloud saves and streamlining the process of buying downloadable content, and it has four big Origin pushes coming up. First up is the open beta for Battlefield 3, which begins Thursday and requires players to download the Origin program. After that, DeMartini said he expects The Old Republic, The Sims, and next March's launch of Mass Effect 3 to drive new user adoption of the service.

"I would not be surprised if we experience another 100 percent growth over the course of the year in our users," DeMartini said. "We've already processed more than 1 million transactions so far this year."

Origin will be the only downloadable storefront to offer Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Part of that growth may come from publishers that are ordinarily considered among EA's rivals. DeMartini reiterated the company's efforts to host other companies' games on Origin, teasing, "In the very near future, we're going to have some rather significant announcements with regards to some of the additional titles that will be available on Origin."

DeMartini also stressed that EA would treat publisher partners in the way it seeks to be treated by Valve. (EA has pulled some of its games from Steam, citing a desire to be able to have its own interactions with end users that don't go through the service.)

"We really do believe in a fair and open marketplace. We strongly believe that customers should be able to buy a product wherever they want to buy the product. If they want to buy the paid DLC from some place other than where they bought the original product, they should be able to do that as well. And if they want to buy microtransaction content from somewhere else, they should be able to do that."

DeMartini showed no hesitation when asked if other publishers would be allowed to circumvent EA with their own DLC efforts for games sold through Origin.

Origin is offering early beta access and a DLC pack to Battlefield 3 preorder customers.

"1,000 percent yes," DeMartini said. "A fair and open marketplace. If we are so fortunate to sell someone's great IP at a full-price sale and they're smart enough to put a store in their game and make paid DLC easy for the customer, that was pretty smart thinking on their part and we have no issue with that.

The executive also addressed the trend of retailer-exclusive preorder incentives, where bonus content is split into multiple packages, each available only from one or two specific retailers. As a result, essentially nobody who buys a game like Battlefield 3 at launch can get the comprehensive game experience without buying multiple copies.

"I don't know that it benefits the consumer, as much as that's kind of the direction the industry has gone," DeMartini said of the practice. "Every retailer on every one of these major releases seems to get their little trinket of digital positivity (or sometimes in the box positivity) as a little extra you would get for purchasing from that particular retailer. I think we showed good partnership and discipline in not just saying we're going to entitle the purchase you get from Origin and everybody else just gets the vanilla product. "

A full-on replacement for the EA Store, Origin serves as a hub and infrastructure for downloading and playing PC games, as well as ordering boxed products for other platforms.

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196 comments
starwolf213
starwolf213

eternity vault looks so fluid. tsk. this game will surely be a hit.

ymladdych
ymladdych

@CaptainHerlock: If it's any consolation, I don't give Valve a "free pass." I also restrict handing out cc info as much as possible, but frankly, the cc info isn't what bothers me about Origin. It's the total-package monitoring they'll have going on. So I've been Steamless until very recently, and I only have it now because I didn't read the fine print when I purchased "A Game of Thrones: Genesis." But make no mistake, once I'm done with AGOT:G, I'm reformatting my rig - sans Steam, and it won't be installed again. This is one of the reasons I argue with posters who assert that we should bend over and accept Origin because "Steam does the same thing." Even if it were true (which it's not), it's irrelevant because I don't care for Steam, either. And just to put this out there (not directed at any specific poster) - I roll my eyes when I see posts like: "Hey, just accept it because you give out info with X,Y, and Z...it's a losing battle!" Sorry, but submissive apathy has never been my thing. I fight when I think it's important, not just when I know I can win. Something to think about - if you never draw a line because a line has never been drawn, then you'll be a doormat forever. If Origin doesn't cross a line, then what would? And what will you do when that day comes? Because there will still be people saying, "Well, you were okay with Origin...why do you have a problem now??!!"

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

You "trust Valve"? Gabe Newell going to pick you up at the airport? You don't want to buy EA games through Origin, but you'll buy them through Steam. What's the difference? If you bought an EA game through Steam, then they ALREADY HAVE your credit card information. And I always hear people say (in a stoner voice) "No way am I going to give them my information man!!". Those are usually the first people to hand over their credit or debit cards to a bartender when they're buying drinks, and then have said bartender hang on to it, running a tab all the while. What's more dangerous? Again, it seems though that PC gamers especially, give Steam a "free pass". It's as if they are saying "By golly, they can't be evil. They created Half Life! So they must be swell guys!!". Well if they were such swell guys, they wouldn't have given you no choice as to whether you had to install Steam to play Half Life 2. And they certainly wouldn't have taken away your right to sell any games that you bought retail copies of on Ebay. As I said before, Valve has learned that little lesson from Gabe Newell's days at Microsoft, a company that was found guilty of a anti-trust violations by the FTC back in 1999. Show me any violation when it comes to their business practices on the part of EA (I know what they've done about workers and overtime, so that's not part of this discussion, I'm talking about the actual trade practices, not labor), and I'll be inclined to agree with you.

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

@CaptainHerlock The difference is that I actually trusted Valve back then (that kind of took a hit when they screwed up Half Life 2: Episode 3 and left us hanging story wise for a couple of years+.). EA is not known for being the most trustworthy company out there. Sure, I will buy their games retail or through Steam. I'm not giving Origin my credit card information anytime soon. They have a long way to go to earn my trust for that. Shoot, I have never even used XBL, or PSN at all...of course, I'm not much of a console gamer either. Not since the console RPG market went completely south. I'm going to wait, watch, and see how Origin turns out before I buy anything from them at this point. Maybe in a year or two, they will impress me enough to go that route.

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

@vicsrealms "Do you purchase anything?". Well if there's a game that's only available from Origin you'll purchase it from them. And the only reason why so many people have Steam on their computers is because it was bundled initially with Half Life 2, and Valve gave you no choice but to install it. You bundle a piece of software with another product, keep people from uninstalling it, and force them to use it. Sounds like Gabe Newell learned that little lesson, which congress determined in 1999 to be a violation of anti-trust laws, when it worked for Microsoft.

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

Alot of people around GameSpot always harp on about how "competition is good". Yet when it comes to Steam it's treated as if it were a sacred cow. Nothing is supposed to compete with Steam, especially if it's a service from Electronic Arts. For those who preach on about competition, you're seeing it unfold before your very eyes. Electronic Arts said "we can do this too, and we're going to show you how". They're giving consumers a choice in a free market. Now you can't sit there and vilify them for doing so, because they are a legitimate threat to Steam, and the digital distribution they've attempted to create, and then preach about how "competition is good".

GiantsFan2290
GiantsFan2290

CURSE YOU EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

Wow, 4 million users? But does anyone actually buy anything from them. I have it on my system, but I'm not purchasing from it. Thats what steam is for, or I can happily wait till Amazon gets my my game. Plus, the only reason I have it installed is for Battlefield 3 and TOR.

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@Madgnad @Rocker6 Alright guys, this will be my last reply. I do not intend to convert anybody into my point of view, I also don't defend EA's actions and I do agree that this is very rotten of them to force feed this service upon us. If your hostilities towards EA go deeper than that single point, I have no reason to protest. My argument was simply a protest to a single point. That people were so offended and outraged upon finding out that Origin has been digging your hard drive in the past and could potentially be doing so now. I feel that this point is invalid due to the fact that all such services are capable of doing the same. EA isn't the only company that spy's on you and that while EULA requires you to warn customers of your actions, the practices used to perform such actions do not require specification. Something for all of us consumers to think about next time we use that point to defend any argument. In summation, I respect both your opinions and I am humble for every opposing discussion, each of these challenge my way of thought and allows me to question and explore my opinions further. Please understand that I do not defend all of EA's practices and that I acknowledge you both having VERY valid reasons for distrusting EA. I'm going to bed lol, have a good night guys (or day, wherever you are lol)

Rocker6
Rocker6

@bigcrusha True,we cant know what Valve does and what it does not,but I trust them,and Madgnad does too,I would say.When someone mentions Valve to me,great things come to mind,HL franchise,Portal,respect for consumers,Steam and its sales,etc.When someone mentions EA to me,bad things come to mind,rip-offs,destructions of franchises,DLC crap,greed,etc.So when Valve does all those good things,its easier to believe they aren spying on everything on your PC,and they probably arent,they are doing some limited stuff most likely.With EA,it isnt,I was always suspicious of them,they always have many hidden motives with everything(I get the impression one of main points of BF3 is to violently push their Origin crap on us,they dont care about community much).But maybe Im wrong and Gabe is reading this comment and laughing how stupid I am.Its hard to believe that,though,because,as I said,I trust them.They proved themselves over the years.EA didnt,and thats why we dont agree with your concept.I understand it perfectly,though,it does make sense.Oh,and I say we should stop with this,you wont change our opinions here,no matter how hard you try.But hey,at least you gave me something to think about,so your time isnt wasted here.

Madgnad
Madgnad

@bigcrusha "Valve’s policy is self-restricted to anything on your PC directly relating to its own products. EA’s is so broad that it gives the publisher permission to scan your entire hard drive." That is a quote taken from rockpapershotgun.com. There are other sites that go into more detail. The fact is that Steam doesn't scan your drive. It would have to be in the EULA or TOS in order for them to do it. Valve has also earned my trust. There was an indecent maybe a year ago where 10,000 accounts were VAC banned accidentally. What Valve did was un-ban all of those accounts and gave them each 2 copies of Left 4 Dead 2. One for themselves and another for a friend. That is amazing if you think about it. 20,000 copies were just given away because they made a small mistake when they could have just un-banned them and said "oops won't happen again." They have given me a service "Steam" that does everything that I need it to. It auto updates all of my games. It has great download speeds maxing my connection out. The only thing it can't do is scan my HDD. :D. Origin only gives you EA games. It doesn't auto update the older titles and it spys on you.

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@Madgnad BUT DUDE YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT VALVE DOES AND DOES NOT DO!!! LOOL, sorry for the all caps, just feel that you didn't read it the first dozen times. How do you know Steam doesn't scan your hard drive? Does Steam terms of service have a big disclaimer anywhere saying "WARNING, WE ONLY SCAN AND COLLECT USAGE DATA, WE DO NOT SCAN YOUR HARD DRIVE" Ugh, this is going nowhere, I know your not a 12 year old because you reply quite intelligently. So why can't you understand that simple concept?

Madgnad
Madgnad

@bigcrusha I understand that a company like Valve "could" have Steam do the same thing that Origin does. The difference is that it doesn't. Until they do it you can't blame a company like Valve for something that they haven't done. The people that refuse to install Origin have a legitimate reason. I personally don't want them to have a free pass to my hard drive. There are other games I won't install like Ubisoft games because of their DRM.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

@ 4514N_DUD3 Yes i do, that's why i said "You have to at least give it to EA, they're trying their hardest to make sure they don't screw up anymore with Origin. " They screwed up in the initial wording of their EULA, and they pissed off some gamers when they said Origin would be required.

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@Madgnad Sigh, look I'm not trying to get you to take everything you said back, I'm not here to prove you wrong, what I want you to understand is that every one of these services aren't limited to the option of scanning your hard drive. I have friends in the field and they've told me the same thing. While many of these services track usage history through the "temporary internet files" folder, they could dig up your entire drive if they wanted to. They can do it because technically you agree to when clicking "I Accept". Steam can do all the same things Origin does and probably has but you'll never know because they don't have to tell you. Steam is not limited to specific areas of your folder, it's not a common practice but they CAN do it if they feel it's necessary to whatever data they need to collect. Your security programs don't stop it because they aren't necessarily marked as "spyware". You don't have to believe me but understand that EA is among the only companies that TELL you they do it.

ErikElfEar
ErikElfEar

EA's spitting on people's faces and expecting profit out of it. This is news?

Hurvl
Hurvl

"If you don't play by my rules, I'll take my ball and go. See how much you like playing soccer without a ball." You could hear this from an obnoxious kid and from EA. There's really no difference in what they're saying. "Play by our rules or you don't play at all".That's fair as long as you don't demand too many things. Making Origin mandatory to play their games is what I would describe as "too many things". "Yeah, well I've got other kids I can play with and they would never do something like that!"

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Although many people have concerns about how intrusive Origin is, unfortunately most, including myself, will likely still use it anyway. If not for BF3, then for Mass Effect 3 or Dragon Age or some other EA game. The general public will likely never know exactly what Origin does on their computers behind their backs as I don't see how that information can be acquired without some level of modification or reverse-engineering of Origin, which immediately opens the good Samaritan to litigation by EA. The problem is, at its simplest level, that EA is a superpower in gaming. They are basically saying, through its EULA, "You want to play EA games? Then suck it up. If you don't like it, take a hike. There is the door." They are betting that most people will suck it up. Although I am not an avid console gamer, my Playstations are a lot better in this regard. I use it for gaming only, and any program on it can only do so much bad. Ironic, really. Maybe PC gaming will die in the future without more consumer protection legislation. Or maybe I just need two PCs like having two credit cards, one for online shopping only.

Madgnad
Madgnad

@bigcrusha List some softwares that scan your hard drive. If you can list some that I have installed that can scan the entire drive and are not limited to their own directory then I'll take back everything I've said here. The fact is, if a program can scan everything on your drive then it is spyware. Just because it was developed by a well known company like EA doesn't mean that it is not spyware. Steam cannot scan your entire drive. It is limited to the Steam folder and your RAM looking for cheats. I don't play WoW so I don't have anything installed on my system that has to do with B.Net. I have a very good understanding of software and hardware. I know what all of my programs are on my computer and their capabilities. I don't install things that I don't need. Why would I install Origin just to play 1 game?

david255
david255

from every member i've heard (including myself), the only reason so many people have accounts is because it's mandatory for somethings. hell, the battlefield 3 beta alone could get origin more than 4 million.

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@Madgnad Then Madgnad you have no general understanding of the modern world. What a corporation tells you it's going to do and what it does are two very different things. You vastly underestimate what these companies can do and blindly assume what kind's of information they posses on you. The law is also in slight technicality because while many of these services say they only monitor and track browser history and cookies, it is well within their right to scan within your hard drive to do so so long as you are connected to the web. Understand that while many need your concent to retrieve personal data, from the moment you agree to terms of service, you no longer have control as a user over WHICH METHODS they employ to do so. Technically they aren't really required to specify. Companies have been doing this for years behind closed doors both legally and illegally and guess what? It's becoming a common practice, especially more recently with game publishers to scan your hard drive for game hacking software. Why do you think the newer models of B.Net now require you to log in once a month to play Blizzard games?

Hellswrath99
Hellswrath99

This seems like more evidence of EA having planned to withdraw from Steam in advance to promote their own online digital distribution system. What better way to draw attention to it than to have a dramatic withdrawal from Steam citing disagreements with how Steam handles DLC and patches? Origin was already primed to launch when they started this complaint with Steam. The fact that the DLC issue they took up with Steam is the major defining difference between Origin and Steam only serves to underscore that this was planned. Honestly, I wouldn't care so much except that EA controls a huge portion of top quality games, yet their Origin service is TERRIBAD. That and they tried to cast Steam in a bad light as part of their marketing strategy for Origin.

Madgnad
Madgnad

@bigcrusha I can honestly tell you with a straight face that the companies that you listed including Steam cannot scan my hard drive. Yes I can honestly say that with a straight face.

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@Madgnad You're going to sit there and tell me with a straight face that companies haven't used spyware to track user data through hard drives before? You gonna tell me with a straight face that ANY of these companies do not have the capability to do so? C'mon man....Really?

Joedgabe
Joedgabe

Origin It's probably being careful of Hackers by saying they can scan your personal data files. You shouldn't shop or have personal information on the same computer you game on because so many things can go wrong because of it. I personally don't have a problem if they wanna scan my system go ahead do that, I got nothing to hide and nothing to worry about just as long as they don't damage or change any files while they're doing so.

Madgnad
Madgnad

@bigcrusha You are completely missing the point. Facebook, Google, your ISP, cell phone provider cannot scan your hard drive. Origin has the capability to scan any folder on your computer and is not limited to the Origin directory. I can use Facebook, Google, my cell phone and pretty much anything else without worrying about them scanning my files. What Origin does is the definition of spyware.

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@Rocker6 Look Rocker, if you refuse Origin, thumbs to you, I'm not a fanboy and could care less what services EA has to offer me beyond games. If you have great reasons for avoiding Origin, I respect you for it, but don't feed me the same hogwash that half these people are ranting about: "I'm avoiding Origin simply because they track my info." The way you reply to me suggests that your smarter than that. EA is not the only company in the world that uses these methods and believe that Valve is no exception.

Rocker6
Rocker6

@bigcrusha Yes,I read the privacy policy about everything I use,but still,EA has the one that clearly says full acess to every piece of data on your PC.Others dont,for example Google doesnt touches your data,they only track your Internet history and the browser you use(at least thats what they say).But you are right about the last part,we indeed never can know what happens behind "closed doors",especially in this time where ppl would do anything to get more money from us.So in the end,we must chose to what companies we will trust,and I choose Valve(dont think I dont know how they are far from "perfect company"),but I dont trust EA for many reasons.Its my choice,and my mind is set,no Origin.Also,this discusion is over,unless you have something important to add.

4514N_DUD3
4514N_DUD3

@FallenOneX u do know that most people signed into origin cuz if they dont they wont be able to play almost any good EA games like BC2 or ME2. I signed in so i can play those, i havent even used origin.

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@Rocker6 Don't feel like it? Dude, who are you fooling, you know I'm right, read the privacy policies of everything you use and they all virtually tell you the same thing, so please. Even if their privacy policy denies anything, you don't have a clue what these corporations do behind closed doors both lawfully and unlawfully for business purposes.

kais112
kais112

@s4dn3s5 Two words, it is!!!

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

You have to at least give it to EA, they're trying their hardest to make sure they don't screw up anymore with Origin. The first one that finds a way to make a profit on consoles will win.

TheLemonGelati
TheLemonGelati

Dematrix To quote Eustis.. That's how they getcha, gotta read the fine print.

Rocker6
Rocker6

@bigcrusha Thank you for expressing you opinion on the matter,but my mind is already set.Also,Im not fighting any "good fight",the loss of one consumer doesnt mean anything for a huge company like EA.I should go into details,and prove some of your claims are wrong,though,but I dont feel like doing it.

KnocturnalGS
KnocturnalGS

On a side note, that SWTOR video... Ok, I have a feeling that game is gunna be awsome...

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@Rocker6 Unacceptable? So now you're going to pass on BF3 because EA has access to your personal data? Do you currently have a cellular phone plan? Do you currently have an internet service provider?(Obviously) Have you been using any social networking sites such as FB and Twitter recently? Have you been using search engines like Google? If the answer is yes to all of the above then congrats, your PC is as transparent as a glass window. You think Steam is any better? Steam snoops your computer for "relevant marketing history data". But who's to say what is considered "RELEVANT" us or them? For all we know your porno stash can be considered "relevant marketing history data" in their eyes. So your gonna skip out on BF3 because of EA's invasive policy, GOOD MAN! Way to fight the good fight and giving these greedy rats the middle finger! Although, make sure your message also includes abstaining yourself from all things internet altogether. That's the only true way of having your data 100% protected from third party eyes. Good luck to ya bro!

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

BF3 is the only reason to download this crap. And still, despite great gfx on pc, I still have to find out if the core game is actually great

Ronnie_Rim
Ronnie_Rim

3.9 million of these registrants were those who HAVE to use Origin to play certain EA games.

edwise18
edwise18

I'm all for more competition.

scout7
scout7

Hopefully Steam will give better pre-order deals and prices once Origin adds non EA games next year. I love Steam, but competition is good.

fox-orian
fox-orian

Origin....... Wait, didn't EA buy Origin Systems back in the day? The makers of Ultima? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_Systems I can't help but notice a slight slight similarity in the logo. Looks like they're recycling an old defunct asset. HMM.

lokar82
lokar82

This is a terrible article, how can they not mention the invasion of privacy that Origin represents? Obviously a lot of people are mad about it as can be seen from the comments here. I love Mass Effect and would gladly buy ME3 for full price like I have the first two but now I will pirate it since I will not install Origin on my computer, ever!

acer7x
acer7x

How does that even count?! That's like getting up in arms about people getting HD TV, of course there are large numbers. They had no choice, but to get it if they wanted to watch TV.

Dematrix
Dematrix

http://www.giantbomb.com/news/eas-or...ins-eula/3616/ (There's some links in that article, that make it a good starting point.) And here's a doozy of a quote, AFAIK right from their own EULA for Origin: When you use EA online and mobile products and services or you play our games on your PC or console, we may collect certain non-personal demographic information including gender, zip code, information about your computer, hardware, software, platform, media, mobile device, mobile device ID, console ID, incident data, Internet Protocol (IP) address, network Media Access Control (MAC) address and connection. We also collect other non-personal information such as feature usage, game play statistics and scores, user rankings and click paths as well as other data that you may provide in surveys, via your account preferences and online profiles or through purchases, for instance. And here's another one: Information collected will vary depending upon the activity and may include your name, email address, phone number, home address, birth date, mobile phone number and credit card information. and the REAL kicker? WHEN YOU USE ANY ONLINE GAME, SERVICE or WEBSITE FROM ELECTRONIC ARTS YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ, UNDERSTOOD, AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THESE TERMS. Still enamored of EA? Still so convinced that Steam is doing things "the wrong way" ...?

TriumphantToad
TriumphantToad

Okay, so uh...4 million+ people are on origin. Give us a new stat. How many people have Origin voluntarily? I bet I could count that number on two hands.

KnocturnalGS
KnocturnalGS

One way or another its all about money o_O but I would only expect that all the bs that has happened with the BF3 origin pre-order open beta codes would not have seen the same drama as it might have with steam. Origin has a way to go before it being as reliable as its prime competitor. so I guess we can only sit back and see what happens...

pidow
pidow

Do what pleases you, not what they want you to do, think and act on you own likes and avoid your dislikes, its very simple, it's you money!. Steam has issues that they take forever to address, service sucks bad, one has to look all over creation for help that should be automatic......show me one, or any service that immediately address your problem(s) with their service, and I will immediate change my thinking.

blackace
blackace

I play all my EA games on XBox 360. I could care less about EA's Origin store. Just put it on XBL Marketplace and we're good. Still, with over 4 million users already, it looks like STEAM now has some competition. Please like Best Buy, Gamestop and Amazon also have digital downloads you can buy. I think STEAM is going to lose some business over the next 2 years.